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Investigation ongoing into funds missing from town court

NORTH HUDSON - The Essex County District Attorney's Office is investigating a former North Hudson Court Clerk after a recent audit conducted by the state Comptroller's Office found missing funds and sloppy bookkeeping.

According to the comptroller's findings, a former court clerk - who was not named in the report - filed 24 monthly reconciliations of the accounts of North Hudson Town Justice Deborah Duntley.

The audit found that each reconciliation was inaccurate and that $2,225 is missing from the court's accounts.

"The former court clerk routinely listed erroneous outstanding items, excluded certain outstanding bail from her analysis and/or mistreated balances while, at the same time, presented seemingly balanced reports to both justices," the findings state.

Along with Justice Duntley, Justice John King also presides over court proceedings in North Hudson.

"Because the justices did not adequately scrutinize the clerk's work, errors were able to remain undetected month after month," the audit states.

According to the report, the former clerk was employed by the town court for 32 months.

The account discrepancies went unnoticed until a newly hired clerk reported them in September of 2008.

The audit calls for the adoption of new oversight controls of accounting practices at the town court.

Calls to North Hudson Supervisor Robert Dobie were not returned on Wednesday.

Essex County District Attorney Julie Garcia confirmed Wednesday that an investigation into the conduct of the former clerk is ongoing.

Several sources close to the story declined to divulge the name of the former clerk.

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